Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, a web site created and compiled by Vickie Sturgill Stevens, contains more than 70 historical essays by 40 different writers. As an introduction, I recommend the entry called Mountain Scribes by Bonnie S. Ball.
The site is of special interest to me for several reasons.
When my mother was born in Dickenson County, Virginia, the doctor who brought her into the world was known by the locals as “Doc Tiv.” Here, again by Bonnie Ball, is the story of Dr. Tivis Colley Sutherland: Pioneer Doctor of the Frying Pan.
If you follow my blog regularly, you know I like ghost stories. There aren’t many ghost stories in Historical Sketches, but I did find this intriguing paragraph in Summing Up At Seventy, by Edgar S. Fraley:
“. . . there were the Knocking Spirits at the home of one of our neighbors. Tables would rock back and forth and move about the room. The laws of gravitation were suspended and objects in the room would drift about through the air. There was much speculation, amazement, not to say consternation, prevailing in the neighborhood. The man whose home was all but knocked to pieces was Dr. Rufus Kyle for whom Kylesford was probably named.”
I’ve only scratched the surface of this rich historical site. There are true stories about settlers, pioneers, coal miners, frontier forts, founding fathers, murders, and hangings, by the likes of Roy L. Sturgill, Nancy Harman, Emory L. Hamilton, James A. Dougherty, William G. Smith, and many more.